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California Transgender Law Takes First Step Towards Referendum

A referendum that would overturn California’s controversial new transgender student rights law narrowly has cleared the first hurdle to qualify for the November election.

The law allows transgender students in California public schools to choose which sports and extracurricular activities they participate in — and which bathrooms and locker rooms to use — based on their gender identity, not their physical characteristics.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure last August. Opponents immediately gathered more than 600,000 voter signatures for a November referendum to overturn the law.

Currently, a random sample projects the referendum would fall about 22,000 valid signatures short of the roughly 500,000 needed to qualify. That margin was close enough for the measure to barely avoid failing outright. Instead, counties will check each voter’s signature individually between now and late February.

The law itself took effect on New Year’s Day but it will be suspended if the referendum qualifies.

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